Friday, May 23, 2014

Nothing

There are moments when, unpredictably, my mind drifts back to Ngaamba and I find myself wondering what Mercy is doing at that exact moment, singing, probably, or curious whether Stella is excitedly wearing the straw hat I left with her, the only hat she owns, or if the kids are having rice and black beans for lunch, or maybe today is chickpeas.

Weeks have passed since we stepped back into our land of comfort, a place where we wonder what we will eat at each meal, not if or when, and something as commonplace here as clean, running water is anything but over there. And during those weeks that sometimes feel like a blink away and other times an eternity, I have been drafting this blog post in my head, listing and analyzing and crafting a way to explain exactly what I saw and felt and came to understand in this community of seemingly nothing.

Nothing.

Oh, how wildly wrong I was about my prior notions of "nothing!" What I have come to learn about "nothing" is vastly different than the mindset from where I began this trip. A lack of things doesn't amount to nothing, I learned. Nothing isn't made up of an empty closet or a home without appliances. Nothing is being empty inside. 

And I didn't meet a single person in Kenya who is empty inside.

So here's my thing, my Kenya takeway, my new truth. God not only reached deep into my soul and connected it in some unfathomable way to the people of Ngaamba that I never imagined possible; He also opened my eyes and showed me how to measure the value of my life by shifting my focus away from the things in it and instead onto Him, just as my friends in Kenya do each and every day. They want for nothing. There is no flow of complaints nor bitterness nor envy. Instead, they are filled by their grateful hearts and they count their blessings from yesterday, today and tomorrow.

That the God of the universe, who is capable of immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, who is bigger than our minds can ever envision, could use a single week to spur a great life change should come as no surprise. So today, I will try my hand at gratitude. Today, I will know that He is enough. Today, I will recite a truth I had to experience all the way across the world to understand: God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

And that is everything.